A by-the-numbers chiller that practically sleepwalks through its brief 83-minute running time, Apartment 1303 proves a big disappointment.

A remake of a superior Japanese offering from back in 2007 (and boy does that show) this has all the hallmarks of classic J-Horror – creepy kids, cursed apartments and long-haired apparitions.

But the pacing is off, the editing wildly inconsistent and the performances leave a lot to be desired.

Set in Detroit (although apparently filmed in Montreal), the film kicks off with daughter Janet (Julianne Michelle), fed up with the antics of her overbearing mother (played by Rebecca De Mornay), deciding to move out and into the apartment of the title.apartment-1303-dvd-cover

De Mornay’s mother is a former singing superstar, happy to see out her days reminiscing about former glories and getting sloshed on a regular basis.

Then we also have another daughter, Lara (Mischa Barton), who still lives at home, but also locks horns with her mother and yearns to get away.

Anyway, back to Janet, who reckons she has landed on her feet with a great apartment, only to find the neighbours pretty creepy and the apartment spooky in itself.

Perhaps not that surprising when she learns a former tenant both killed her mother and committed suicide within the walls.

Things take an even sinister turn when, after a truly laughable sex scene, Janet ‘jumps’ from the balcony of her apartment to her death, right in front of sort-of boyfriend Mark (Corey Sevier).

But Mark is convinced there are other forces at play, and teams up with Lara (who, bizarrely, decides to move in to the flat her sister died in) to try and get to the bottom of the supernatural shenanigans.

I’d like to say that Apartment 1303 starts well or ends well, or even ‘middles’ well, but the simple truth is it doesn’t.

You always get the feeling you are watching a pale imitation of a far more impressive original, and that proves to be the case.

As a viewer you may also find yourself confused by what appears some butchering on the editing front – scenes are set up only not to take place, while other scenes that are never shown are referenced by the characters.

A lot of the time with films of this ilk, at least you have some stand-out shock moments to fall back on, but Michael Taverna’s offering fails to even deliver that.

On the performance front, De Mornay emerges just about unscathed (although the drunken antics do grate), Barton seems disinterested while Michelle at least throws herself (quite literally) into the role.

Unfortunately though, their efforts are symptomatic of a film that barely manages to raise itself above the level of so-so.

EXTRAS: None, although the Blu-ray does offer a 3D version

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.